Twentysomething News was launched in mid-June, and since then the response from the creative community of twentysomething people out there in the world has been overwhelming.
After just a month we'd worked with over 70 connections in the writing community and beyond. Given we were still in a stronger form of Coronavirus lockdown and for the first time in many our lives time was not in short supply, June and July were a rollercoaster of activity. At one point, we'd published a new article every day for 35 days. Thirty five!
Twentysomething now stands on its own two feet and for the first time, I feel as though I could do with a hand running things.
Rhiannon asked if she could get involved in the project moving forward and of course, I jumped at her offer!
Coincidentally, a few weeks ago I was meeting two friends of mine in Lewes, a small village in Sussex. We'd picked the only day of that weekend where it rained, and I'd neglected to bring a coat. Classic. During the trip, we got onto the subject of this website and how it was all going - not that they had missed anything because I spam all my friends with countless posts about it - and we ended up talking for a long time about its inaugural successes and the potential for its future.
Travelling back to London, one of the friends, Rhiannon Hutchings, turned to me and said: "I have a proposition for you". No, this wasn't a spontaneous marriage proposal, and yes, I'm still bitter about it. In fact, Rhiannon asked if she could get involved in the project moving forward and of course, I jumped at her offer!
For those who have never heard of Rhiannon, she is one of the most creative people I know. She runs her own blog (naturally) and several Instagram accounts for her passions (I've lost count). Specifically though she's an English graduate from The University of Surrey, where we met, and she'll shortly be beginning her teacher training. Both points make her the ideal candidate to join our growing team.
Together - we'll rule the world! Or at least rule a small section of the writing community. Same thing
Rhiannon will essentially be doing everything I've been doing. We'll split the responsibilities and essentially double our capacity for processing new articles and contributors. It's perhaps not obvious at first glance but every article made live incurs a significant amount of work behind the scenes, so I for one can't wait to share the workload with her.
The most important thing about Rhiannon joining the team, though, is her general enthusiasm for the brand and the aims of the project, and her ridiculously positive and creative mindset which means she makes a success of anything she puts her mind to. Together - we'll rule the world! Or at least rule a small section of the writing community. Same thing.
To officially welcome her onboard, I did a quick 'get to know you' interview with her which you can read below. If you're someone out there who'd like to write with us in the future, take note of her answers...she may be answering your emails!
(Harry) It's is AMAZING to have you onboard Rhi. What is it that made you want to get involved with Twentysomething?
Thanks, Harry. When you first told me about Twentysomething I thought it sounded like a great idea - I believe stories are invaluable, and the concept of having a hub in which people our age can share stories freely seemed like something that was needed. Different generations are often generalised in terms of their beliefs and behaviours, but there is so much diversity amongst even people ten years apart, so I feel like it's important to remember that. As a writer and keen editor, I also thought I'd be of some use to Twentysomething. Don't get me wrong, you're incredibly hardworking and organised, Harry, but to manage this all yourself is a near-impossible task in my opinion!
(Harry) In your own words, describe your history and relationship with me...
Full of peaks and troughs, mostly troughs...nah, I'm joking. Harry and I met in 2017 at uni, as we were both put on the same student mentoring team (he was the team leader, just like he is now...dammit!)
We worked with the first-year students, signposting them to our university's student services and attempting to resolve any conflict they faced in and outside their halls of residence. My first impression of Harry was a tall, exuberant guy with a booming voice who was obviously great at talking to people, but I feel like it's recently that I've seen the more creative side of him come to light. We both live in London so we see quite a lot of each other, and our current relationship basically consists of us taking the piss out of each other, sharing our mutual love for Dua Lipa, discussing food and Harry sucking up to me because he's realised how amazing I am over the course of the past few years.
(Harry) Can you tell everyone reading a bit about your own blog and writing career?
So I launched laviederhi.com years ago - I can't even remember when - but it was really shit, and didn't really have a clear structure or audience. Since then I've redesigned it several times and have reflected on what I actually want to put out there, which is mainly content on travel, lifestyle and health, as well as fiction that I write. I used to write for my college and uni magazines, have written for a fashion marketplace blog, SUITCASE magazine and done a minimal amount of freelancing. My long-term goal is to become an author, and I'm currently in the process of contacting agencies in regards to my debut novel. It's a harrowing process, and if we do another interview this time next year I'll probably be in the same position, haha.
(Harry) You're just about to begin your official teacher training, so soon we'll all be calling you 'Miss Hutchings'...shame your surname wasn't Jackson. What is it that makes you want to teach?
Lack of alternative career prospects...just kidding. I'm not kidding, however, when I say that I never actually saw teaching as an option, because I thought it was a typical next step for English graduates, and I always want to be different, haha. Then I realised - after my placement year teaching English in France - that I was actually pretty decent at teaching, and I love kids, so why the hell not? As a teacher you will never be out of work, and I'm absolutely buzzing because my experience so far has made me see how rewarding a job it can be. I know everyone says that, but you just cannot beat the feeling of making small changes in young peoples' lives. I'm aware that it's a very intense profession but I really think I thrive on being busy and being challenged. I'm terrible at being bored, I don't even understand how to be bored...
(Harry) Tell us one pet peeve when it comes to writing...something that people should avoid using too much, or something that really bugs you?
Hmm, that's a difficult one because I'm a bit of a grammar Nazi! Obviously the classic misuse of "your" and "you're" brings me to frustrated tears every time, but more broadly speaking I'd say that it's often annoying when people try and do too much with their writing. In school we were always taught to make our writing as dramatic and interesting as possible, with loads of adjectives and whatnot, but I'm definitely an advocate for writing with a really clean and simple style. I think you can still say something really interesting without needing to write it in flowery language. Sometimes people go on and on and on until one sentence becomes a paragraph and you're left thinking, "what did they actually mean to say?"
(Harry) This is a plug-opportunity of a lifetime. If you could suggest everyone reading this follows 1 person on Instagram, who would it be? (not you!)
What kind of question is this?! That's so difficult. I'd probably have to say someone like @rickeythompson, because no matter what mood you're in, his energy will put a smile on your face.
(Harry) Thanks Rhi! Going to be great to work with you.